tv John Mc Laughlins One on One WHUT July 31, 2011 11:00am-11:30am EDT
the fountain of youth. long before spanish explorer ponce de leon scoured florida for the fabled fountain of youth, mankind has quested for immortality. some scientists say we're on the cusp of finding it. thanks to advances of genetics and nanotechnology people alive today may live 1,000 years or more. well, if that does come true, how will social security handle those benefits? forget about the front end. when the benefitsic k in. what about the back end when they stop? we'll ask these experts renowned inventor, author and technology trend forecaster, ray kurzweil
and professor and author s. jay olshanski, and from offsite in colorado terry grossman m.d. author and longevity clinic director. captions produced by visual audio captioning www.visualaudiocaptioning.com if. for such a small word it packs a wallop. if i live to a hundred. if social security isn't enough. if my heart gets broken. if she says yes. we believe if should never hold you back. if should be managed with a plan that builds on what you already have. together we can create a personal safety net, a launching pad, for all those brilliant ifs in the middle of life.
you can call on our expertise and get guarantees for the if in life. after all, we're metlife. welcome, terry grossman. on the live line and we'll be with you in just a moment. also, ray kurzweil. >> good to be here. >> and jay olshanski. >> thank you. >> what we want to focus on is this book that you and dr. grossman have written, "fantastic voyage." live long enough to live forever. the science behind radical life extension. can you give us a brief outline of why you believe that it will be possible within the lifetimes of many of our viewers to achieve immortality? >> we talk about three bridges to radically extending our longevity. and bridge one is really
gathering the knowledge we have to short circuit, circumvent premature death and remain healthy, things like heart disease that kills two-thirds of a million americans, there's a lot more we can do to prevent premature death than people realize. so we provide a comprehensive program. it's not a one-trick pony, it's not just cut your cautious, cut your fat, eat grapefruit, it's really a comprehensive set of ideas drawn from the baths of many different fields of thought to remain healthy and tax maximum effect of our biology and it's also customized programs so it's not just one-size-fits-all, you find out what your issues are, if you have high homo sis team you take folic acid if you don't you don't have to take that. that will include many of us, including baby boomers like ourselves to remain in full health until the biotechnology revolution. >> you really have to reverse the damage of aging to bring you
back to where you can experience the second break through but let me interrupt you just for a moment because some of your -- some of your thinking is very high-concept thinking and i want to give you my rendition of what i think is in this book, ok? >> sure. >> the key concept, the core concept is the rate of progress. kurzweil and grossman see the rate of human progress in this century moving 10 times faster than ever before. at that rate he thinks we will solve genetic riddles and biomedical processes to achieve huge advances in bioengineering to prolong life. moreover, they see a convergence with progress in auto artificial intelligence at the level. nanotechnology that will give biology the means to damage defective organs even our brain and infuse our organs with
intelligent nanobots, nanobots the products of nanotechnology that are actually increased into the body. >> that's the third bridge. we're probably 20 years away from that. >> is the core concept -- >> that's absolutely right. in fact, i've been talking and writing about this for 25 years. progress is not linear, it's exponential. it expands exponentially which is quite explosive. two-thirds of the jean microphone project, 15% collected, almost all of it it was done at the end of project bass we, bargains we doubled the progress every year. six years to sequence hiv, 31 years for sars. we're making exponential progress. >> is this analogous to the quantum theory, all of a sudden it really jumps ahead and you're saying the progress we currently experience is 10 times faster than it was earlier? >> well, a lot of -- the power,
price performance capacity of information technologies is doubling every year. and the real revolution now is we're beginning, we're in the early stages but we're beginning to understand our biology in terms of information processes. the genome is one aspect of that, we're beginning to understand it, there's a lot we don't understand, we're really at the early stages but progress is exponential. we're learning, for example, in heart disease which is probably what we know most about in terms of degenerative disease, the actual sequence of steps, the actual enzymes involved and the whole progression of vulnerable plaque and actually beginning to intervene in those processes, for example to block an enzyme that destroys hdl so the good cholesterol levels will go up and things like that so we're getting very powerful tools. drug development now is actually developing, designing something that does a very specific task, will have less side effects than old drug development which is really just discovering something that might have had some benefits but had lots of side effects. so we're really developing very sharply designed tools that can go in and have a desired effect.
rna interference, for example, is a whole new technology that can block a gene from expressing itself. this is research today but ultimately we hope it will provide clinical tools to actually block a disease-promoting gene. >> what's the time frame for this scenario? >> well, it's under way. we're in the early stages, i mean, this -- >> 50 years, is that about right? >> no, i'd say 10-20 years for making very substantial progress in biotechnology. some of these things are in development now. this drug i mentioned had that actually will stop the destruction of hdl is in testing now. >> but for the full application of nanotechnology, don't you require about five decades? >> well, biotechnology which is really perfecting the information process in biology we will see tremendous progress 10-20 years. nanotechnology where we can actually go beyond the limitations of biology, for example, putting blood cell size doo advises which we're doing in
newsrooms, at four major conferences on doing that which deal with -- >> nanobots? cells. >> don't exist yet, do they? >> well, there are experiments in animals. >> do we describe a nanobot what is nanotecumsehnology? >> build things and control them at the molecular levels. >> talking about almost -- well, actually micro could be size, are we not? >> key application towards medicine will be deviews the suze of blood cells. there is actually one experiment in animals that's been demonstrated that actually had a positive effect on type one diabetes in rats so we're experimenting with these things today in animals. but the golden age of nanotechnology where we can put blood cell devices in our bloodstream is about 20-30 years away. i'd say in the 2020s, late 2020s. >> do you think there's a death gene jay olshanski, ph.d.?
>> no, there can't be death genes nor can be there genes designed purposely to making us age. this is hundreds and hundreds of years old, something out there to wipe us out, to move us to make way for the young. this is an old concept. it is certainly not true. there's an obvious reason why, by the way. >> are we programmed to die? >> no, there cannot be a genetic program specifically for the purpose -- >> you sound like ray kurzweil right now but that's not the point you're making, is it? >> actually i think we're in complete agreement on this, well, i don't know if we're in complete agreement but you can't have a gene out there specifically for the purpose of killing us because such a gene would -- >> is there a genetic component in aging? >> yes. >> but that doesn't mean we're programmed to die. >> precisely. there's a big difference between genes that influence duration of life and genes that are there specifically for the purpose of causing us to age or to die. the ladder cannot occur, the
former must occur. >> in what sense is evolution the culprit? >> well, our genes evolved tens of thousands of years ago, conditions were very different. there was not a survival advantage for the species for people to live a very long time so long, longevity, long life-spans were not selected. >> you mean because of the food opportunities and the lean hunting seasons? >> there was limited physical resources, limited food, so it's difficult to say that death was selected for but i think we can say that long life was not an advantage. so evolutions did not select us to live a long time. >> does death make sense from a darwinian perspective? >> there have been arguments that people dying, you know, after child-rearing would free up resources for the young.
we don't have proof of that. i think what we can say is that long life was not selected for because there was no evolutionary advantage to reproduction for long life. >> can you say that death is an aid to evolution if it allows new gene expressions better adapted to the environment to come into being? >> well -- >> but that doesn't happen, does it? >> let me put it this way -- there's no one aging and death process. there's many different processes going on and they all evolve at different rates. and we're beginning to learn them, one very important one is the process that leeth toater sclerosis leading to premature death for millions. we're learning the information processes underlying that and learning how to intervene in them and we know a lot already. we can significantly reduce the risk of these diseases more than people realize. >> do you think we should forget darwin and letting nature take its course and take evolution into our own hands and modify
the human genome through genetic and technological engineering? >> well, i mean, ours is the species that goes beyond nature, that goes beyond our limitations, we didn't stay in the ground, we didn't stay in the planet and we're not staying with the limitations of our biology. human life expectancy was 37 200 years ago. simple things like antibiotics and better sanitation improved our longevity. we're now dealing with death caused by heart disease and cancer and diabetes and we're going to make tremendous strides in that over the next decade or two. >> so what do you think of this high concept analysis of death and evolution and how -- what ray and terry are doing? >> well, let me put it this way -- the notion of the bridge two and the bridge three technologies i will say i am in complete agreement with -- >> way ahead of the audience here. he's described bridge one, which
is bringing the body into a state of readiness for the breakthrough or the bridge two. and that means repairing the aging, this is mostly for the benefit of baby boomers of which he is one. are you going to make that nanotechnology curve? >> am i going to get there? i'm planning on being there. >> do you think you will? >> i think i will, yes. >> so bridge one is that, that is to assist the repair of the organs. what is bridge two? >> bridge two is mastering the information processes underlying biology. >> bioengineering? >> different as expect of bioengineering. things like rna interference where we could block a gene that promotes a disease or block an enzyme that promotes a disease. >> 10 or 20 years away? >> we have some of the early fruits in development or in the testing pipeline now. >> what is the third bridge? >> biotechnology will give us another, you know, addition to
longevity and bring us to nanotechnology where we can go beyond the limitations of biology. and one aspect of that will be being able to send small devices inside the bloodstream. there's experiments with small sensors and devices in animals and even discussion in doing this in humans but 20 years from now we will be routinely sending small devices inside the human body for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes. >> we do that already in nuclear medicine. i recall someone telling me that they didn't know where their gallstone was and they finally found it through nuclear medicine. >> that's imaging but i'm talking about actually sending devices, sensors inside the human body. >> that's the third bridge. and that's further away. but you hope to make it. >> definitely. >> you're 56 years old. >> i'll be 57 in a few weeks. >> your father and your grandfather both died in their 50s from heart attacks. do you think you're in denial of
death? >> actually, i've been very focused on that issue. so, in fact, inherited my daughter's genes and my cholesterol would be high 200s but it's actually 130, my ldl is 70. >> by reason of diet in. >> by reason of my whole bridge one program, it's largely diet, that's the most important component of it. >> is stem cell research vital to a potentially limitless human life-span? we'll put that question to our guests. but first, here are their distinguished profiles. born, detroit, 50 years of age, wife sara, two children. religion, none. atheist. politics, independent. michigan state university b.a. psychology. university of chicago m.a. and ph.d. sociology. national laboratory. specializing in nuclear waste
disposal four years. university of chicago, center on aging, senior research associate, 15 years and currently. london school of hygiene and tropical medicines senior research associate 10 years and currently. university of illinois - chicago school of public health professor four years and currently. coauthor, "the quest for immortality, science at the frontiers of aging." hobbies, fishing, running. stewart j. olshanski, born queens, new york. 56 years of age. wife sonya. two children. jewish and unitarian. politics, independent. massachusetts institute of technology, b.a. computer science andat literure. kurzweil technologies. parent company to nine companies. specializing in artificial intelligence. speech and character pternit
recognition. and technology trend forecasting. founder and ceo. 31 years and currently. national medal of technology, the nation's highest honor in technology. recipient from president clinton. 1999. half million dollar m.i.t. prize. the nation's largest award in invention and innovation, winner, 2000. inventions, numerous. including the first print-to-speech reading machine for the blind. and the first large vocabulary speak recognition instrumentation. author, five books, including "the age ofri spitual machines, when computers intelligence." and coauthor of the brand new "fantastic voyage" live long enough to live forever. hobbies, cycling, hiking.
ray occurs. ray kurzweil and mark grossman on the live line from denver, i want to comment on the book that you've put together. this book is really a readable compendium because you get into all kinds of matters from the food pyramid to water, although i think water could be a more attention, there's nothing here, really, about the volume of water that one should drink. i heard a book by an indian that is india indian and not native american and saying you're not sick, you're thirsty. >> we do recommend eight or nine glasses of water a day. >> really for helping process your food, detoxifying, not for
hydration. >> i think water's very important. >> yeah, well, we do talk about that. >> i think a liter before 10:00 in the morning. >> there's a whole chapter on that. >> early detection of cancer's quite fascinating, this book has fascinating -- i'm not trying to sell the book i just find here with the current interests that i've discovered in some programming that i was doing that antioxidant advances, free radical defenses, enzymes and antiobjection i dances, mark grossman, to what extent did you contribute to this book? i know that you're a coauthor but what is your particular content area? >> well, terry grossman here, and ray and i established a relationship a number of years ago and i became ray's personal physician and in the course of our conversations with one another, we created a compendium information that we decided to codify into a book so that's how our rip and the book started. >> do you think that the book is
entirely original? i say that because of a book that appeared in 1998 by tom -- the science of aging by tom kirkwood. are you aware of that volume published by oxford? >> no, i'm not. our book has 2,000 citations from the medical literature so from that point of view, you know, we rest on the shoulders of our predecessors and other researchers, you know, at any given time there are tens of thousands of researchers working in these fields. so, you know, we've relied on the works of others in order to create this. >> i suggest -- i call this to your attention because he does get into some of those core concepts that we were just discussing. i'm not in any way saying this is not an original volume, however, because i can feel the throbbing throughout. one of the interesting parts of this book is the recount by each of the authors, ray and terry, of their backgrounds, their health backgrounds and how they got to where they are today,
both on the conceptual level and on the level of vocation. terry, can you recount what you say in chapter 3, your personal journey? >> yes. i became interested in longevity medicine, antiaging medicine, in 1994. and up until that point, i had been practicing conventional medicine and i decided to learn more about nutrition and gradually made the transition from practicing as i'd been taught in medical school to utilizing more nutrients and looking at the possibility for maximizing human lif life-span. and over the course of the next several years kind of transformed my practice from a conventional family practice to more of a nutritional longevity practice. >> integrative medicine. >> yes, because we integrate conventional medicine with complimentary medicine, alternative type of therapies, both.
>> it has been said of doctors generally that they don't know very much about diet and if you're interested in diet they tell you to consult a dietician. i take it that you think that's bad and that doctors should know a lot about nutrition, is that right? >> i think that that's critical. i think that it's really tragic when a cancer patient asks his or heroncologist what should i eat and an oncology said eat whatever you want. cardiologists don't do that, they have very strict restrictions on what types of diets to eat and oncologists really do not. and i think they need to get it from physicians, not necessarily other people. patients trust their physicians and i think physicians should serve as this subject as well. >> drifting into homeopathic medicine? >> it's specialized, has some validity. don't know tremendously about it. tend to usiski of nutrients rather than homeopathics which
are low dozes of things to treat disease, i don't know a tremendous amount about this. >> how are you impressed about this conversation up to this point? >> i'm been very intrigued. i've been enjoyed the debate. i was surprised by the degree of agreement between jay and ray. >> it comes as not only a surprise but a disappointment to me. i thought we'd hear echoes of that splendid piece that appeared in the "new york times" about two weeks ago, it was on a monday, in the b section, for anyone who wants to look it up. >> remember, what they are proposing fundamentally is to suggest that people adopt healthier life-styles today. there's nothing wrong with that. it's wonderful advice. >> what is your beef? >> the beef is, is that there's a suggestion that you can live long enough to live forever. i don't think we need to be dangling immortality out there in front of everyone suggesting that we can live forever. >> you think if you exclude immortality it might go down
easier with the red states? >> easier with everyone. i don't think that's the goal. >> is stem cell research vital to the future you envision? >> i think it's very important because we're linked to understand gene expression. the long-term goal is actually something called transdifferentiation where i could take my skin cells and reprogram them, the heart cells or pancreatic cells if i needed that but stem cell research will teach us about how genes express themselves. being able to reprogram ourselves is a very important part of biotechnology, it's one of the major themes. >> dr. olshanski, you're a sociologist of distinction. do you expect red state-blue state clash? >> i don't understand red clash blue clash about immortality. >> can i help you out? red states, there's a certain religiosity i think that appears and that includes a certain
fatalism, i am mutability, divine truth also. do you think there will be religious resistance to what we've been talking about on this program? >> i think there will be some religions that will not like the idea of tampering with the human genome and tampering with the fundamental biology, something that defines us as a species. i have no doubt about that. i also suspect that there will be scientists who will reject the idea that we should be tampering with our biology. remember, we've tampered with our biological in many ways in the past. we've tampered with the biology of other species and there are often neck trade-offs associated with it. it doesn't mean we shouldn't be trying to find ways to alter and slow down the aging process, it just needs to be done in a very systematic way in order to ensure there's no harm done. >> terry grossman, are you the one who prescribed 250 different pills for ray to take every day, ray kurzweil here with me?
>> no, i couldn't say that i prescribed them. ray's an independent thinker and has carefully analyzed his own biochemistry and i've assisted him in establishing a program to what we call preprogram his biochemistry to deal with some of the genetic issues that he's dealing with. >> before i let you in, terry, before you have thoughts about his taking mega dosages of environment e, for example? >> well -- >> we only have a few seconds. >> i don't know -- yes, i don't think it's a good idea to recommend to the rest of the population that we take mega doses of environment e. >> you said at one point it could kill you. >> in a recent study there was a demonstration that there was a higher risk of death for those who took more than 400 international units of environment e. >> you want to give me a concluding line from alfred, we anticipated the study in the book and recommended you do not take a lot of alpha tocaphero